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Doyup Kwon

1025

Bold Points

60x

Nominee

5x

Finalist

2x

Winner

Bio

My passions for sustainable and responsible development and infrastructure were sparked by an explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in my neighborhood. After embarking on a high school journey that took me through hours of maintenance work at local preservations, the development of an online curriculum dedicated to teaching peers the importance of sustainability, and the experience of becoming an Eagle Scout, I'm ready to continue my advocacy for environmental health in the professional world. Furthering the goals of both people and the environment, and not one over the other, is the name of the game.

Education

University of Notre Dame

Bachelor's degree program
2020 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Civil Engineering, General

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Civil Engineering
    • International/Globalization Studies
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Global Development through Engineering

    • Dream career goals:

      Company Founder

    • Student Intern

      THOR Industries
      2022 – 2022
    • Independent Researcher

      University of Nevada - Las Vegas
      2022 – Present2 years
    • Summer Intern

      Center for Civic Innovation
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Lifeguard

      West End Racquet and Health Club
      2018 – 20191 year
    • Community Development Intern

      Torrance City Hall
      2018 – 20191 year
    • IT Worker

      University of Notre Dame
      2020 – 20211 year

    Sports

    Swimming

    Varsity
    2016 – 20204 years

    Awards

    • Most Valuable Player

    Research

    • Transportation Engineering

      University of Notre Dame Department of Electrical Engineering — Independent Researcher
      2021 – 2022
    • Environmental Radiochemistry

      University of Notre Dame — Research Assistant
      2020 – 2021

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Boy Scouts of America — Eagle Scout, Patrol Leader
      2013 – 2017
    • Volunteering

      Notre Dame McNeill Fellows — Student Volunteer
      2021 – 2022
    • Volunteering

      University of Notre Dame Asian American Association — First Year Retreat Table Leader
      2021 – Present
    • Advocacy

      Social Entrepreneur Corps — Consulting Team Member
      2021 – 2022

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Entrepreneurship

    WCEJ Thornton Foundation Low-Income Scholarship
    Winner
    Athlete. Me. Overweight, glasses-clad, and a failure at anything that had to do with a ball. I couldn't imagine ever being called such a term. Yet the access card that identified me reminded me what I was at the meet for-to swim the 100 yard butterfly. I no longer fit my own image of myself. For much of my life, I had used the labels that others put on me-"nerd, geek, chubby"-as crutches, excuses to stay confined within my box and attempt nothing new. So, when my mom forced me to join the swim team, I was terrified, fully convinced that I didn't belong anywhere near a pool. After the longest two hours of my life, I begged my parents to let me quit. But as the days went on, I spent so much time in the water that I started to feel freer there than on land, and became comfortable with pushing my physical and mental limits. I discovered that hard work yields improvement and that improvement builds confidence, and forged a stronger and more fulfilling version of myself through the sport. For the first time in my life, I could call myself "fit," and utilized swimming to feel good about myself, my body, and the things that I was doing. I wasn't an athlete until I built up the courage to be one. As I reshaped my body for racing, I also reshaped my thinking, drastically altering my outlook on the world. So many other hidden joys revealed themselves to me after I made the small effort to try them-I embarked on countless adventures through the Boy Scouts, gained independence and metaphorically crossed into “adulthood” by becoming an Eagle Scout, took the plunge and thrive socially at a university where the vast majority of students have completely different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds from me, and now constantly look for new ways to push my boundaries. Deciding to join and stick with the swim team, struggling through all of the challenges that it has thrown at me and fighting to become the best version of myself to this day remains my single greatest achievement to date. I have used the experiences I've had on my self-discovery journey to bolster my academics and education, and even strengthen my relationships with others. Even today, it's hard to call myself an "athlete." But my life experiences have taught me to open myself up to as much as possible. I now actively seek discomfort, putting myself in positions far outside of my old box. In the future, I hope to translate this newfound passion for discomfort and exploration by pursuing a career in research and transportation engineering innovation. Being comfortable with failure and open to traversing unexpected paths is central to the research and academia world, and I know that my experiences with overcoming self-doubt and my own uncertainties will help me immensely in pushing forward to forge a better future for others through the creation of effective urban systems. By applying myself to every opportunity that crosses my path, I will expose myself to a world I couldn't see before. Whether or not I succeed in what I attempt, I will be content in knowing that more adventures will offer themselves with every new day.
    William M. DeSantis Sr. Scholarship
    Athlete. Me. Overweight, glasses-clad, and a failure at anything that had to do with a ball. I couldn't imagine ever being called such a term. Yet the access card that identified me reminded me what I was at the meet for-to swim the 100 yard butterfly. I no longer fit my own image of myself. For much of my life, I had used the labels that others put on me-"nerd, geek, chubby"-as crutches, excuses to stay confined within my box and attempt nothing new. So, when my mom forced me to join the swim team, I was terrified, fully convinced that I didn't belong anywhere near a pool. After the longest two hours of my life, I begged my parents to let me quit. But as the days went on, I spent so much time in the water that I started to feel freer there than on land, and became comfortable with pushing my physical and mental limits. I discovered that hard work yields improvement and that improvement builds confidence, and forged a stronger and more fulfilling version of myself through the sport. For the first time in my life, I could call myself "fit," and utilized swimming to feel good about myself, my body, and the things that I was doing. I wasn't an athlete until I built up the courage to be one. As I reshaped my body for racing, I also reshaped my thinking, drastically altering my outlook on the world. So many other hidden joys revealed themselves to me after I made the small effort to try them-I embarked on countless adventures through the Boy Scouts, gained independence and metaphorically crossed into “adulthood” by becoming an Eagle Scout, took the plunge and thrive socially at a university where the vast majority of students have completely different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds from me, and now constantly look for new ways to push my boundaries. Deciding to join and stick with the swim team, struggling through all of the challenges that it has thrown at me and fighting to become the best version of myself to this day remains my single greatest achievement to date. I have used the experiences I've had on my self-discovery journey to bolster my academics and education, and even strengthen my relationships with others. Even today, it's hard to call myself an "athlete." But my life experiences have taught me to open myself up to as much as possible. I now actively seek discomfort, putting myself in positions far outside of my old box. In the future, I hope to translate this newfound passion for discomfort and exploration by pursuing a career in research and transportation engineering innovation. Being comfortable with failure and open to traversing unexpected paths is central to the research and academia world, and I know that my experiences with overcoming self-doubt and my own uncertainties will help me immensely in pushing forward to forge a better future for others through the creation of effective urban systems. By applying myself to every opportunity that crosses my path, I will expose myself to a world I couldn't see before. Whether or not I succeed in what I attempt, I will be content in knowing that more adventures will offer themselves with every new day.
    Hindsight 20-20 Essay Scholarship
    Every year that I have been in school, during that anxiety-filled period of time right before exam season, whether they came in the form of finals, midterms, or AP tests, all of my teachers seem to have told me some variation of the same exact thing–“these tests won’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, so just do your best, and don’t stress yourself out.” It may have been “test scores don’t define you,” or “you won’t remember this test in five years,” or any other form of reassurance that was supposed to ease our nerves about the upcoming test worth 30 percent of our grades that covered the entirety of a year’s worth of learning, but they all had the same core message–that these tests were not the end-all be-all of school, and in fact should be seen as playing a minute role in our educational careers. And I took this to heart. For all of my education, I studied hard specifically for my tests, but took comfort in knowing that my education was not for the sole purpose of doing well on them. I trusted that these exams would be mere stepping stones in the grander lifetime journey of learning that I would experience, just checkpoints to keep track of my progress and see what really stuck with and resonated with me. But now, after completing two years of college and being able to reflect on what I really gained from my grade school education, I realized that something, somewhere along the process had gone wrong, and I hadn’t gotten what I was truly hoping for from my time in California K-12 education. When studying for exams given in my college-level math and engineering courses, I constantly found myself having to revisit and relearn fundamental concepts from grade school that should have formed a solid foundation for these upper-level classes to build upon. Instead of utilizing prior knowledge, insights, and intuitions gained from my K-12 education to properly think through the new and more challenging concepts presented to me, I was struggling to even apply the things that I had “learned” prior in new and unfamiliar ways to succeed in the demanding fields of math and science. I quickly realized that I had in fact not learned these subjects in my K-12 education, but had simply trained my brain to memorize just enough so that I would be able to do well on the next exam, whatever it may be. I was excellent at short-term retention and spitting what I had memorized back onto a piece of paper, but when it came time to expand upon the concepts I was supposed to have learned in order to solve increasingly complex questions, I didn’t even know where to start. I hadn’t integrated that knowledge nearly well enough in order to expect it to serve as a reasonably strong foundation. My grade school test culture had completely consumed me without my knowledge. I understand that this was partly my fault for choosing, in many instances, to learn in this way, but it is still disappointing to know that the K-12 education system did not combat this behavior, but instead went as far as to reward it by giving me positive feedback in the form of great test scores and stellar grades after limited time to truly learn. My teachers may have believed what they were saying about the importance of tests, but unbeknownst even to them, they have trained a generation of students not to learn and think critically, but simply to get that "A" on their report cards.
    SkipSchool Scholarship
    I constantly exude pride about where I'm from, and sometimes, that rubs people the wrong way, as they hold a singular, gaudy vision of Los Angeles, with its glitzy Rodeo Drives and scandal-ridden Hollywoods. But having lived here for 18 years, I know that those things aren't what are important--rather, artist Ramiro Gomez-with his collection of street-bound cardboard cutouts that serve as an homage to LA's unseen workers-illustrate perfectly why I'm proud to call it home. Every "sculpture" of a nanny, a pool cleaner, an electrician, with their unassuming and quietly hardworking presences that the average tourist would just gloss over are, to me, representations of the foundation of Los Angeles. This city isn't defined by the shallow and glamorous exterior that most see, rather, the blue collar workers behind it all are what make it great, and Ramiro Gomez has managed to visualize this in striking manner.
    Amplify Green Innovation Scholarship
    A blanket of ash hung over our field as my friends and I trotted out to lunch. The fire that had ripped through a gasoline processing unit at the ExxonMobil refinery down the street was still blazing, spewing flames large enough for us to see from the classrooms. We had heard whispers about hydrofluoric acid being in the vicinity of the explosion and how the debris floating in the air could damage developing lungs, not to mention the ever-looming consequences that this kind of greenhouse-gas expelling accident can have in the realm of climate change. But despite all of this, nobody, especially not the industries that caused this, seemed to care. This kind of apathy was and still is very apparent among the people of my community. Everyone just accepts the oil refinery that takes up a large chunk of the city, already used to the industrialization of the area and the gradual takeover of parks by empty storage buildings and parking lots. And only a few protested the outdated safety measures that led to the environment-threatening explosion at ExxonMobil. I was experiencing the sad reality of a jaded community too apathetic to fight back against environmental injustices in my own hometown. Since this event, the thing that has always intrigued me the most about climate change and the issues that surround it has been its connection to our energy sources. During the industrial revolution, America's main energy sources shifted from biomass to fossil fuels, and we have been getting the majority of our nation's energy from coal, petroleum, and natural gases ever since. However, as even my middle school self realized after the ExxonMobil explosion, these sources of energy, although reliable and economical, are not sustainable in the long term. Later on, as I began my studies in sustainability and engineering, I quickly came to realize that the renewable energy industry is on the cusp of exploding into one of the largest sectors out there. With exponentially increased research and development done within the industry and new businesses and leaders beginning to make a name for themselves in solar, photovoltaic, biodiesel, and other energy divisions, framing a career in renewable energy never seemed like a better idea than it does now. With all of this information in mind, I plan to start a business in the consulting realm, specifically one that specializes in helping other companies transition to greener models and practices. I could capitalize on the still relatively young but growing collection of knowledge in the field, leveraging my education in renewable energy to become a leader in this niche region. Businesses are currently on the hunt for viable models that pay greater attention to environmental costs, and focusing on protecting both environmental health and the bottom line of companies would allow me to further the causes of both people and the natural world. I am especially excited about breakthroughs in nuclear fission and fusion, and I plan to put considerable research into these realms in the future.